I’ve discovered, by traveling at the holidays, that people in general are not a particularly nice bunch of bipeds. Especially at Christmas. They’re greedy, self-centered, bitter, and not above running you over for a better parking space. By the time I leave Maryland for the Great White North of New Hampshire and my family’s Christmas traditions, I’m so sick of humanity that I want to bitch slap it into the New Year.

But not this year, not entirely. Why? Because this year my friend Erinn started a blog. A very special, very awesome blog.

It’s called Be Nice to a Stranger and it’s a really good way to start off your day.

Every day during the month of December, Erinn did something nice for someone else. She bought medication for a stranger, brought donuts into work, called up a GEICO insurance representative and said thanks for doing a great job. Every day she took a few minutes of her own busy time to appreciate someone else in the world.

(My personal favorites are the stories about the homeless man and the miniature elephants)

And it’s the kind of thing that spreads.

She’s a teacher and she had the kids in her class do it. Jilly and Jessica and I started reading the blog and every so often we’d find ourselves doing little things for people we didn’t know. And now, Erinn is being promoted on the local television and radio news shows.

Not because she’s a reality bimbo or because she’s a celebrity with a God complex. She’s being interviewed because she helped people when everyone else was passing them by.

I’m so incredibly impressed with her that I can’t think of anything profound to say. Except that it shouldn’t be so out of place in modern society to treat each other well. We should appreciate our lives, the happiness we have, the fact that we’re not constantly dodging bullets and bombs and debris. And yet, I don’t think enough of us do, myself included at times.

We’re a huge mass of bodies on this planet, constantly bumping into each other without a second thought, and we never stop to consider the guy who lost his job and whose family doesn’t have a place to sleep, or the single mom who just needs someone to hold a door open for her. We have to live on the same rock with each other – we shouldn’t be so oblivious.

(I’m getting down from my soapbox now, I promise.)

Anyway, December runs out in two days and Erinn’s experiment will be over. She’s created this incredible sense of paying it forward amongst her loyal readers and her school’s community. So in a last ditch attempt to make Erinn’s adventure even grander than it was a moment earlier, I’m paying it forward to you, TNB, and to the readers.

Be nice to a stranger and think of how thankful you’d be if someone did the same for you.

Happy New Year!

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Putting aside her commitment to the National Ninja Association, this young, bright and talented author has finally come out of hiding. She currently exhausts her brain capacity working for government, but spends many afternoons dreaming up new ideas for her incredibly blasphemous novel, The Absolutely, Positively, True Adventures of a Religious Prophet, while keeping her typing fingers limber. She can be reached here on the comment board or over at her blog, The Unbelievable Adventures of Claire Elizabeth Rogers.

18 responses to “The Time Has Come to Speak 
of Kindness”

  1. Zara Potts says:

    Being kind is one of the best things you can be.
    I think we should all be kinder, and not just to strangers. Sometimes we are awful to the people we love best, and we should all try harder to be kinder to those we love as well.
    We have a day here in NZ which is called ‘Random Acts of Kindness Day’ and it seems to be pretty popular. My new year resolution is to be kinder, so your piece is very timely for me. Thank you and I wish much kindness for you in 2010.

    • Meg says:

      Zara! I seem to do that a lot, write posts that are particularly timely for you. 🙂 I wish you luck with your resolution. Cheers to the kindness of strangers in 2010!

  2. Jess says:

    How did you know I’ve been reading Erinn’s blog every morning? :o) It’s become a little ritual for me. Breakfast, coffee, and the blog.

    I think kindness is contagious. It’s kind of hard to be rude to others when someone has done something nice for you. Instead, you want to do something nice for someone else (or ‘pay it forward’). I like to do unexpected and random things for people.

    Around Halloween I anonymously left a cute, medium sized pumpkin on my neighbor’s doorstep. The note simply said ‘Happy Halloween’ and had a ‘To:’ line for the names. I was feeling bad for misjudging (never make assumptions about people) my neighbor. I thought she was kind of snotty and mean. I found out later that she has cystic fibrosis, and I felt horrible. I wanted to do something nice for her, and I knew she loved Halloween because she decorates her porch every year for it. This nice thing was done out of guilt, but I felt really good after doing it. I could imagine her smiling when she opened the door… and isn’t that what it’s all about? Making someone’s day.

    • Meg says:

      I know you read Erinn’s blog every morning because of my all seeing eye. It’s particularly tuned to your coffee maker. Strange, I know.

      Yay for being kind to strangers! And a huge double YAY for Erinn! 😀

  3. jmblaine says:

    Evangelical Kindness: Count me in.

    PS. I like your glasses.

  4. Kindness: yes. I think it’s a very important, and very underutilised thing.

    I, too, wish you much kindness in 2010.

    • Meg says:

      Definitely underutilised…like a melon baller.

      I just compared kindness to a melon baller…saints preserve us. 🙂

      Happy New Year!

  5. Ronlyn Domingue says:

    I’m paraphrasing, but I read somewhere that a great act of kindess is simply to look another person in the eye and smile. I’ve tried it, try to remember to do it. Almost without fail, the other person responds warmly, even if the smile is sad or hesitant. Thanks for the kind reminder of how to move around in this world with a bit more compassion, Meghan. Happy new year.

    • Meg says:

      I went out at lunch to do some last minute running around for our New Year’s party tomorrow night and I tried out the smiling thing. Three people smiled back, one person honked her horn at me, and two others frowned. Maybe I need to work on my smile. 🙂

      Happy New Year!

    • Ronlyn Domingue says:

      Oh, no, you took the frowners by surprise! Some folks are suspicious. Never mind–be encouraged by those who met you in the spirit in which the smile was meant. Enjoy your party!

  6. Jess says:

    Wait, but you hate melonballers.

    • Meg says:

      I wish I was a little bit taller,
      I wish I had a melonballer…

      I don’t hate them…I just don’t see the full purpose, unless they’re used to make cookies and then not only do they have a purpose but they do God’s work…and She likes it.

  7. Excellent. What a great way to start the day. Your friend is a very wise woman, as are you.

    I don’t own a mellonballer. In my mind they up there with leaf blowers.

  8. Hey Meghan:

    First off, thanks for posting this. Also, I’m glad I read this before setting out on my busy day today. What a great thing to take with me–be more mindful of others, and do something nice for a stranger. That’s a pretty great gift you just gave me, my dear. Happy New Year…

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